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What is Kraken? All we know about renamed Covid variant XBB 1.5

Novel strains of the coronavirus are creating new health concerns around the world as fresh descendants of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant now make up 40 per cent of cases in the US.

The two strains, XBB and XBB.1.5 have seen a surge in cases in countries worldwide. The World Health Organisation has warned the new and “recombinant” Covid variant XBB.1.5 is the “most transmissible yet.” It has been nicknamed 'Kraken' on social media.

XBB.1.5 has now been found in 25 countries and is a mutated version of Omicron XBB, which was first found in India in August. XBB can get past the body’s immune system and XBB.1.5 is just as able at doing so. It is also better at “binding” to cells, so it can spread with much more ease. Whether or not the so-called Kraken will trigger a new Covid surge in the UK remains to be seen, but reports suggests that a rise in cases may well be seen.

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Source: Independent, 11 January 2023


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